Office: 508 Mueller Laboratory
BS 2010 University of Michigan
BTA 2010 University of Michigan
An organism’s ability to respond to stressors is integral to its survival and reproductive fitness. The physiological stress response is generally adaptive and includes the production of glucocorticoid hormones, including corticosterone (CORT). Elevations of CORT can divert energy toward dealing with the stressor, triggering survival-enhancing behavior, and preparing an organism for subsequent exposure to threats. However, long-duration stress, such as that elicited by frequent encounters with predators, can divert energy from other important processes, such as immune function, growth, and reproduction. I am interested in the consequences of stress and if these consequences differ between populations that have evolved in high- and low-stress environments.
I utilize Eastern fence lizards (Sceloporus undulatus) and invasive fire ants (Solenopsis invicta) to investigate these costs of the stress response.
Questions I am currently investigating include:
I am also very interested in effective methods of communicating science to the (adult) public. Although there has been a recent push toward scientific and environmental awareness, the memorable notions of “going green,” “global warming” and “fighting invasive species” are incredibly incomplete. Such naive views of science among the general public can lead to costly endeavors, such as community groups physically removing invasive cane toads in Australia though no scientific evidence is available to suggest this is an effective means of population control (Shine & Doody 2011). Additionally, in spite of support from thousands of peer-reviewed articles, the debate over evolution continues, and only 28% of high school Biology teachers in the United States advocated teaching evolutionary biology in 2007 (Berkman & Putzer 2011). A knowledgeable pubic can better engage with pertinent scientific issues, and I hope to pursue new and innovative ways to communicate ecological research to the adult public through my graduate career and beyond.
McCormick, Gail L., K. Shea, and T. Langkilde. How do duration, frequency, and intensity of exogenous CORT elevation affect immune outcomes of stress? General and Comparative Endocrinology. General and Comparative Endocrinology 222: 81-87.
McCormick, Gail L., T. Langkilde. 2014. Immune responses of Eastern fence lizards (Sceloporus undulatus) to repeated acute elevation of corticosterone. General and Comparative Endocrinology 204: 135-140
Stuble, Katharine L., M.A. Rodriguez-Cabal, G.L. McCormick, R.R. Dunn, N.J. Sanders. 2013 Tradeoffs, competition, and coexistence in eastern deciduous forest ant communities. Oecologia 171(4): 981-992.
Thawley, Christopher J., G.L. McCormick and S.P. Graham. 2013. Geographic distribution: Crotalus horridus (Timber rattlesnake). Herpetological Review 44(4): 628.
Thawley, Christopher J., G.L. McCormick, S.P. Graham. 2013. Geographic Distribution: Heterodon platirhinos (eastern hog-nosed snake). Herpetological Review 44 (3): 476.
Thawley, Christopher J., G.L. McCormick, S.P. Graham. 2013. Geographic Distribution: Opheodrys aestivus (rough green snake). Herpetological Review 44 (3): 477.
Graham, Sean P., N.A. Freidenfelds, G.L. McCormick, T. Langkilde. 2012. The impacts of invaders: Basal and acute stress glucocorticoid profiles and immune function in native lizards threatened by invasive ants. General and Comparative Endocrinology 176(3): 400-408.